What IS Monk Fruit?!
Monk Fruit is a small, round fruit originally from southern China. Other names that you might hear for this sweetener are lo han guo or Swingle fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii).
In the last 5 years, Monk fruit has gained a lot of popularity in substituting sugar for people who are watching their calorie intake. It has ZERO calories associated with it which is great news for people who are limiting their calories but still want sweetness in their cooking, baking and beverages.
How is it made?
Monk Fruit sweeteners are made by removing the skin and seeds from the fruit and crushing it and retaining the juice. That juice is concentrated into a liquid that can be used (much like liquid stevia) or is dried and crystallized into a granular form that will behave a lot like sugar.
How does it compare to sugar?
Just like sugar is FDA approved, so is the Monk Fruit sweetener (see here for approval). Monk fruit sweeteners are 150-200 times sweeter than sugar. Just like sugar, they are shelf stable and can be baked at high temperatures. It is good to bear in mind that the appearance of something baked with monk fruit might look a little different than if you had made it with sugar just because the sugar structure is slightly different in the finished product.
Is it good for you?
The short answer is yes!
Here’s the more detailed answer :) Monk Fruit is a great sweetener for those on the following lifestyles:ketogenic, diabetic, candida, paleo, vegan, low-sugar, non-GMO, and all-natural diets.
Governments in USA, UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and Canada have also concluded that monk fruit sweeteners are safe for the general population, including children, people with diabetes, and women who are pregnant or nursing.
It is worth noting that just as with anything, it’s best to consume it in moderation. Just like you wouldn’t eat bread at every single meal and think it was a good idea, you wouldn’t want to go crazy and eat nothing but monk fruit. There have been some studies that show that small randomized trials have shown that monk fruit sweeteners do not negatively impact blood sugar or insulin levels.
Ongoing research is still being done to determine the effect of low-calorie sweeteners on the gut microbiome.
One more thing before you go...
It’s May! Which means flowers are popping, the weather is warming and it’s also Celiac Awareness Month! We have a few resources available if you need more information on: